Senior engineers at French energy firm EDF have called for at least a two year delay to the controversial Hinkley Point C project near Burnham-On-Sea and recommended a redesign of the reactor technology, according to national media reports this week.
The Financial Times says an internal white paper written by dissenting EDF engineers argues that Hinkley Point is so complex and untested that the company should announce a later completion date than its target of 2025.
The paper, circulated among top executives, says the “realistic service date” will be 2027 due to the size of the project and continuing design modifications to the European Pressurised Reactor system.
The white paper also makes the case for a “new EPR”, calling on the company to redesign the current reactor technology to make it smaller, cheaper to build and less complicated.
But EDF said in a statement on Tuesday (March 29th) that it is sticking to the planned timetable. “The date for the first operation of Hinkley Point C has not changed. It will be in 2025,” it said.
EDF has been hit by internal tensions over Hinkley Point C, with chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal stepping down earlier this month over concerns that the project could threaten the company’s future.
Critics have also raised concerns over the £18bn cost given EDF’s stretched finances. Two other projects in France and Finland using the same EPR technology are both severely delayed and billions over budget.